Who hasn’t heard “there is a first time for everything”? Remember your first birthday? ( I don’t and am suspicious of people who say they do.) Your first kiss? First boyfriend? (Ughh, he set a bad precedent that at post 40 -years-old, I can’t seem to get away from. But that’s another topic.) Your first date? Prom? And to quote a friend the first time you had “cookie-pie”? As a writer, there are a lot of firsts. Your first book, your first sale and God willing, the first best-seller.
About six months ago, my first book (self-published) arrived in the mail. Fulfilling a life long dream of, first, finishing a novel and then, second, seeing it in print, was beyond words. (Ironic for someone who wants to make her living that way.) I felt that joy that you get from the inside. The joy of finishing something dreamed about as long as you can remember. The joy of accomplishing something that no matter what happens afterward, no one can take that moment away from you. I’m sure Micheal Phelps, Gabby Douglas and a host of Olympians know what I mean. If they never win another medal, they have accomplished something great. Ask President Obama. I hope he wins another term, but if not, no one can erase the fact that he was President of the United States. What about Edith Wharton the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize? I bet that when she wrote The Touchstone, her first novel, she had no idea that twenty years later she would win the Pulitzer. If she had known, would that moment have been any more special? It’s something about the first time that sticks with you for life – good or bad.
What are are you dreaming about today? What do you want to do that you haven’t done? We generally associate firsts with youth. The kiss, the prom, the first job all usually happen before the quarter-century mark. As someone less than a decade away from the half-century mark, I refuse to give up on first times and the joy they bring. My first book came in a plain brown box handed to me by a nameless mailman. No fanfare, no prizes, no million-dollar check. But the joy, it brought will last a lifetime. Because I did it! I accomplished something I set out to do. Whatever my future as a novelist may hold, it will never happen without that first step.